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CMV Lack of brit WW2 softskin vehicles at W&P 2007

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An article in this months (October issue 77) goes on about the lack of british softskin vehicles and the author gives a number of reasons, in brief they are:

 

1. Kent, too far away.

2. The owners, like the vehicles are getting on a bit.

3. They are disappearing overseas to cash rich collectors.

 

Now i may be going to get a bit controversial here (I say what i like and i like what i say!, but this is the way i see it.

 

1. Most owners of Brit kit are really dedicated to preserving and keeping running their vehicle, facing a harder time doing so compared to some other allies kit, and are probably more interested in that, than running around looking like Private Ryan.

 

2. I live in Scotland, however, if it was a D-Day anniversary i would feel compelled to turn out if i owned a vehicle of the period, the historical significance im sure most people can understand. Turning up at an event miles away with a group of SS stormtroopers that managed to get in the news and bring the whole scene into a bad light.......mmmm, not so sure.

 

3. I own up to never been to W&P, but when you see how vehicles change hands for silly money prior to the show and then come up for sale immediately after, you have got to wonder.......and its not really helping those die hard enthusiasts who are in it for the love of it and not for the "Investment"

 

Pin pulled from the social handgrenade, i will now throw it and retire to a safe distance :whistle:

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Well Adam,

 

I have not seen this month's comic so am going on what you have posted, for reason 1, that Kent is too far away........? Too far from where. I am from Kent and brought a WW2 British lorry along, as I always do, there were a good few British softskins around, perhaps the mag writer did not venture around the fields to see them or they were so well camouflaged ;-) To be honest, I can think of quite a number of vehicles in this catagory, in this area of Kent, Sussex, Surrey, which do not attend for one reason or another, but there are just as many postwar owners who also do not go there with their vehicles, many owners just prefer to visit the show and views others and go around the stalls looking for that illusive part. I do not fully believe that it is because the owners are now getting on, because some of these are owned by younger people who prefer to collect vehicles from our own countries military history.

 

It could be true that some vehicles are going overseas and can think of a very few, but not significant numbers. I just looked through the programme and in the medium class, there are 18 15cwt trucks listed, a fair percentage being Bedford MW, also Morris C8 gun tractors, Matadors, Scammells, Austin K2, K3, K6, Bedford QL, OY, Fordson WOT models, and WOA2, Tillies.

 

Not sure whether a WW2 British truck is an investment though, the prices have stayed reasonablly level for years, unless you see one for sale that has had a lot of money spent on its restoration.

 

 

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Hi Adam,

 

Your comments are fair...........each to their own, and all that. :whistle:

 

Like you, I've not been to W&P, even though its only 50ish miles from me,......for various reasons.

 

Its amazing to think that just looking at the folks who own/drive/show British WWII Mv's and who contribute threads in this forum, there are a largish number, who, for what ever reason, don't go to this show.

Ok numbers wise, we in no way can match the guys/gals who drive American metal, sheer numbers of trucks produced see to that, when you add the post war useage the home produced vehicles were used for,.......and then scrapped totally worn out, cause there are comparatively few surviving examples about.

 

In our group, Easy Company Living History group, for example,in WWII vehicles as well as 4 jimmys, 4 jeeps and 1 Kubel we also have 1 MW, 1 OY Bedford and a K6 Austin LAD gantrey.

 

When I read that article, my mind flashed back to the pictures of Dunkirk beaches;.................another very good reason for the lack of brit kit.

 

 

Andy

 

 

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In our group, Easy Company Living History group, for example,in WWII vehicles ............... and a K6 Austin LAD gantry.

 

Andy,

 

Where is this K6 Gantry based? The only one in this area, used to belong to a friend and I helped to look after it, now moved on to another local collector and was at Beltring. The only two that I can think of is an ex-Royal Navy one that was in Farnborough, but could now be sold, and a sand coloured one. If it is the latter one, then it is ex-REME museum and I had a small hand in it restoration many years ago.

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it is getting to be a case of who has the money wins.

 

and me been a young MV owner and student i find it incredibly difficult to get most things but it is all a case of if you got the cash you can have anything.

 

but yeah old softskin british vehicle especailly war time ones are getting rare and not everyone can transport such vehicles i mean i travel from yorkshire to the W&P every year this year was with my landy i know its not WW2 or a truck but if i was to drive it, it would cost £600 in fuel alone which i can only imagine how much it would cost for an old WW2 bedford or austin.

 

and on the point of the owners getting on in years i guess its true, but i am a young member of the MV world and i want more young people to get involved even if it is just a small bit of collecting or attending shows. the thing that puts most young people off is cost and insurance.

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£600? Are you sure? Sounds like there's something up with it! I can do Nottingham to Beltring and back on about £100 worth of fuel in my Ligthweight! :S

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£600? Are you sure? Sounds like there's something up with it! I can do Nottingham to Beltring and back on about £100 worth of fuel in my Ligthweight! :S

 

 

yeah its no over drive and its only doing 12-13mpg plus of the kit it has in the back plus no free wheeling hubs and its petrol so its an exspense but we are currently making an A frame to drag it down rather than a trailer

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I can get to Beltring for about the same (£100-150) in a series 3 FFR with a radio repair trailer and a full load (radios, 12 metre scam mast, tents, cooking gear etc etc). You must have a lead foot (and a hole in your fuel tank)

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lead foot going 30mph i dont think lol i dont know i will have to re check it all unless my calculations are wrong which is more than likely lol

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Hi Gang,

I think the point the magazine was trying to make was that of all the British W W 2 vehicles that were parked up at the W & P only a few bothered to turn up for the run that evening, every year there is a run for Yank vehicles but never one for U K lorrys. Mebbe someone had a toot to that effect and the powers that be took notice. If they did then whom so ever suggested it now has egg on their face. What a shame. Mebbe if there is one next year then mebbe some more of the Brit owners will drag the empty beer cans from round the wheels and make the effort to make it to the arena. :-o

John.

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Or people just don't want to go. Beltring has sowed a lot of descent over the years. On top of charging the public a fortune to view OUR vehicles, they charge us as well. Like I said in an earlier thread, we don't go all show organisiers have is a big empty feild.

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to be honest I do not believe there was a lack of British softskins this year simply that they were outnumbered by the ever increasing amount of American vehicles on the scene.Lets face it if you are looking for a ww2 period vehicle and you do not want to be constantly asked if that is "so and so's"old truck you pretty much have to make the choice between a rusty worn out incomplete British vehicle from a scrapyard or back of a barn or a recently released ex American GMC or Dodge or possibly still a jeep which needs paint canvas and re commissioning .This second option certainly seems more attractive to many than several years grinding welding and searching for ellusive parts rather than being able to call on the more numerous US vehicle parts dealers both here and abroad.

Obviously this is only my opinion and I could be wrong but either way it is always good to see whatever turns up and if you think Brit trucks are rare compare the amount of Harleys at Beltring to the amount of ww2 British bikes Nigel

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Or people just don't want to go. Beltring has sowed a lot of descent over the years. On top of charging the public a fortune to view OUR vehicles, they charge us as well. Like I said in an earlier thread, we don't go all show organisiers have is a big empty feild.

 

 

 

 

Well you've just pointed out one of the reasons I don't 'do' W&P.

pay to take a wartime british vehicle into a show, so paying folk can look at it,.......................err, NO.

 

I much rather support smaller shows, where the organisers are gratefull for my attendance, and the athmosphere is much more laid back, in the evenings, etc, than that of what I've read of W&P.

(not knocking that show, its just not for me)

 

Regarding the organised road run,.............I've got to notice, the majority of Brit,(and Canadian, for that matter)vehicle owners, don't feel the need to keep 'showing off', their vehicles,...........by this I mean, putting more miles under their wheels, when there is no need to,........content to be available to talk to passing folk about said vehicle,.............the guys/gals driving American trucks, however don't miss any oppertunity,...............it it a case of British Reserve;................We Know the Vehicles we drive are RARE, and special:

We just don't need to prove it.; :whistle:

 

Andy

 

(grabbing tin hat and cuppa, before retiring behing sandbags, :-) )

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Well you've just pointed out one of the reasons I don't 'do' W&P.

pay to take a wartime british vehicle into a show, so paying folk can look at it,.......................err, NO.

 

I much rather support smaller shows, where the organisers are gratefull for my attendance, and the athmosphere is much more laid back, in the evenings, etc, than that of what I've read of W&P.

(not knocking that show, its just not for me)

 

 

 

Andy,

 

I take it that you have never been to W&P? If that is so, you ought to go at least once and not listen to others, you may find it better than you thought. I have been going to this show from when it first started in Tenterden 1983, a few years later it moved to Beltring. Over the years it gradually grew, it was the IMPS annual gathering and from the very first we had entries from Holland, Norway, etc. I accept it is now a commercial undertaking, but it is still run in the main, by enthusiasts. My reasons for going is meeting people, making contacts for parts, etc., getting together with old friends from around the world, searching the stalls and of course, looking at MV's! It is one good weeks holiday.

 

I would have liked to have taken part in the British convoy, but unfortunately a group of us had booked a meal out of camp that night, so had to miss, but it seems it did not happen. It was a good idea, but I think at the wrong time, many people are then thinking of preparing for their evening meals.

 

There was a large entry of WW2 Brit vehicles, and yes, it would be great to see them all together, but with a show of this size, it would be difficult as owners are always out and about and it becomes difficult to get everyone in one place at one time.

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Andy, make room behind the sandbags and I'll fire the next salvo. You're right if the public aren't educated and boy some of them need it, then all you end up with a Hollywood or game boy view of history. Explain to me and I might not understand, Show me I may forget, INVOLVE me and I will learn.

I know it can be a pain in the butt but look at what happened at Beltring with the secret filming, if the BBC will stoop to such low life underhandedness to get a story what will the rest of the media do? Only by presenting an intelligent ( I don't believe I just said that :shake:) knowledgable reasonable front to the great unwashed can we hope to avoid anymore lunatic legislation affecting us. Unfortunately reasonable doesn't sell news, so lunatics in large vehicles festooned with weapons careering round the quiet rural roads is a much easier image for them, the media doesn't have to think. I know most shows are not like this but it is the big shows that attract publicity and should think about such things. Rant over, awaiting incoming.

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1) I think LeeEnfield made a fair point, we lost staggering amounts of vehicles at Dunkirk, after 1940 we began to rely heavily on Lend-Lease, so it stands to reason there will be a heavy biase towards preserved US wagons

 

2) Could it be simple logistics? The Americans realised the importance of standardisation long before us Brits, for instance, Willys Jeeps parts are pretty much completely interchangeable with Ford Jeep parts, there was primarily one main chassis in the 3/4 ton range, the Dodge, from that you have the Weapons Carrier series, the ambulance, carryall, command car, etc, using mostly the same parts. The GMC was the main 2 1/2 tonner. After the war, these old war horses had to earn a living in civvy street, my guess is that it was easier to keep a Jimmy on the road due to the plentiful spares situation than some of the more obscure British 3 tonners, that were built in smaller numbers, so presumably had less spare parts back up to match.

 

3) Many preservationists simply regard US vehicles as more glamorous! And before anyone has a swipe at me for restoring a US truck rather than British iron, may just be worth pointing out, I would love the next project to be a Leyland Retriever.............

 

 

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One of the main reasons American vehicles survive is economics. America was called the 'workshop of the free world'. the American economy was booming following the depression of the 1930s. There was full employment, a ready export market, remember it was only about 1990 that UK stopped paying for US war debt. If all the vehicles had been shipped back to the US, it would have cost and then flooded the home market with cheap used vehicles and equipment, people had a lot of money, would you buy new and expensive when you can buy new an d cheap? Also to stop production overnight would cause mass unemployment, and all the soldiers coming home had to be employed. In addition to the depression America had seen the growth of communism and fascism in Europe following the Great War, leading to civil disturbance.

 

A futher ingredient was , and can be argued still is, a desire for empire. One of the aims of the US during WW2 was the bankrupt of the Europen empires, particularly the British, don't forget France Belgium, Holland and Portugal had overseas territory, especially in the Pacific, America's pond as they regarded it, hence the economic blockade of Japan by the US prior to 1939.

 

in 1945 Europe was ruin, even more so then after the Great War, and vitally a lot more technically dependent. By using the Marshall Plan 'generously' rebuilding Europe by gifts of vehicles and equipment, which would need spares etc, that could only be manufactured in US an economic dependency was built up. Britain couldn't compete with donated goods as everything manufactured had to go for export, 'Export or die', the foreign currency was essential to pay of the US, not to mention all the scientific and technical development that was demanded by the US as part payment, they had the manufacturing in place to exploit it.

 

the 3rd factor with vehicles was American kit manufactured under peace time conditions by fit workers not disturbed by nightly air raids and wrecked factories and machinery were better quality. Just after the war a new Scammel constructor cost about £3000, a Diamond T war surplus could be got for £100, thats why most heavy moving even up to the '60s was done by Pacific's and Ts.

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I believe that any shortage of Brit vehicles - if there truly is one - must be put down to the 'Export or Die' economy of post war Britain . The shortages of raw materials meant that there weren't the new vehicles being produced for the home market so whatever was there got used ...and used and used until , particularly in the case of commercials, they were literally run into the ground and then scrapped . Some , as we know (and appreciate) got pushed to the back of the yard as they might come in handy one day , some ended up in the greenery of the scrappies and became too awkward to get out again and they , along with those few who lead a more fortunate and cared for life became some of the jewels we see and appreciate so much today .

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Hi Richard,

It is indeed the sand one from REME museum. Vehicle based in sussex.

 

Andy

 

 

I called in to the REME museum at Arborfield on 14th August and unless I am mistaken there was a very nice Austin sand coloured gantry truck on display :dunno: or was it green... :dunno: oh I don't know :oops:

 

It would be very interesting to know what proportion of restored vehicles in the UK go to W@P - I bet we would all be amazed how small the number is. My "off the cuff" guess is 9% - does anyone out there know?

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£600? Are you sure?

 

 

Chris - I think Jonathan has confused this with his last month's uni bar bill :whistle:

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Richard,

No, never been to W&P,.........no real wish to do so, - not my scene.

I normally wiuld not 'dis' an event without visiting it, at least once,......however, good friends who DO go, up to this year, nearly every year, who are not going again, I do listern to.

The reasons for their decision to stop, include, the feelings of insecurity in the evenings,..................far too many 'wannabe's' (their words) wandering around fueled by alcahol;.............(in past years a good mate of mine was attacked at this show;...........anyone else who knows 'Viv the spiv', will know him to be totally inoffensive kinda guy.)

Another reason cited is the theiving...........

 

Yes I know its a big show, and these occurances can happen anywhere, but I'm afraid I'm happy to keep the cash in my pocket and concentrait on smaller more intimate events. :-)

 

By the way,................the above is NOT intended to be a rant against the W&P, in Any way.

 

Tony,

Good points, It does make me smile, somewhat when I see the majority of American trucks, mounting machine guns. Yes I know, some did,.......but a lot didn't whilst in active service.

The Brit stuff, however does'nt have provision to mount same, so maybe's I'm a little green with envy,.......wanting to be able to mount my bren, for all to see......................... :| :whistle:

(plenty of room behind sandbags,................. ;-))

 

Mark,

exactly the point I was trying to make,........American vehicles ARE more plentiful, what with the french and norwegians releasing their vehicles, which quite probably have been rebuilt and then stored since end of hostilities.

Certainly won't 'swipe' against anyone rebuilding ANY nations vehicle. If it saves it being scrapped and lost, good on you. :-)

 

 

No intended swipes at any one in this posting.

 

Andy

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it is getting to be a case of who has the money wins.

 

and me been a young MV owner and student i find it incredibly difficult to get most things but it is all a case of if you got the cash you can have anything.

 

but yeah old softskin british vehicle especailly war time ones are getting rare and not everyone can transport such vehicles i mean i travel from yorkshire to the W&P every year this year was with my landy i know its not WW2 or a truck but if i was to drive it, it would cost £600 in fuel alone which i can only imagine how much it would cost for an old WW2 bedford or austin.

 

and on the point of the owners getting on in years i guess its true, but i am a young member of the MV world and i want more young people to get involved even if it is just a small bit of collecting or attending shows. the thing that puts most young people off is cost and insurance.

 

 

I think you may well havegot the calcs wrong mate!!!

Not sure where in Yorkshire you are - but using Autoroute, punching in the estimated 12 mpg you think you are getting and max speed of 30 mph and using the centre of York as a start point the trip to W&P works out at around 233 miles, will take about 8 hours + stops and will cost about £85 with fuel costed at 96p/Litre!!! Even if you were in the extreme North of North Yorkshire it would be about £102 in fuel each way.

 

So you'd be talking about a return trip fuel cost of between £170 and £204...

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It would be very interesting to know what proportion of restored vehicles in the UK go to W@P - I bet we would all be amazed how small the number is. My "off the cuff" guess is 9% - does anyone out there know?

 

 

Tony,

 

Trouble is, how many vehicles are there, restored in the UK? Many owners have more than one, so most times only one is brought out. Some, due to their age, condition, etc. are not driven too far from home, so would rely on transporting, that brings costs in to it. The numbers of vehicles coming in to Beltring have risen, but it is staggering how many of them are visitors from overseas and the majority of them are PW non-British. So as a long term exhibitor there, I feel that British vehicles are not neccesarily on the decline there, but just out numbered.

 

Somebody else pointed out how Dunkirk would have effected the numbers of vehicles that have survived, I do not think this is true, because our manufacturing was not fully mobilised at that time and it in fact weeded out a lot of outdated and unsuitable vehicles. Take a look at photos on the beaches, there were a great number of comandeered trucks of all descriptions. After Dunkirk, makers came out with 4x4 3 tonners like the QL, WOT6 and K5 for instance, it gave the motor industry a chance to show what it could do. I can remember in the 50's and 60's, a great number of WW2 British vehicles still being used, parts were available either from vast WD surplus stocks or the fact that postwar civilian models were very similar. These vehicles were worked to death as they were cheaper than buying new. Many is the haulier who started their empires with ex-WD lorries.

Those Brit lorries that have survived into preservation have either been stored under cover for years, been in reserve stock from overseas forces or have undergone a major restoration. There were still WW2 British trucks in service with the British Army in the very late 1970's, with spare parts stock as well.

 

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